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The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled

I did a Google search on a question today.  What is more important to Americans, Health or Money?  The search took me to a website called debate.org.  The site posted the questions, tallied the responses and allowed the respondents to comment.  I was shocked to see that the poll was running 50/50 in respondents choosing one or the other.  Steve Jobs was one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in America.  He was the Co-founder of Apple and died young at the age of 56, after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He was a brilliant thinker and in regards to living and dying and health and money he has these things to say:

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.”
– Wall Street Journal 1993

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
– Stanford commencement speech 2005

So I have a question for you?  If you were to look at your health, and lets specifically focus on the health of your mouth.  What would you want your mouth to look like at the end of your life?  Most people say – well I want to have my teeth.  But does having your teeth really constitute having a healthy mouth?  If we were to compare your mouth to a road which type of road would you like to drive on every day?

Would you like to drive on the one that has been patched over and over again and continues to breakdown?  We have all driven on roads like that.  They drive all bumpy and rough and you need to avoid the potholes.  We also have all driven on roads that are easy to drive on. Smooth as glass, the tires hug the road rather than being bounced off it.

What about your mouth?  Would you like to be able to chew and eat with all your teeth working in harmony with your jaw and have a beautiful smile where the teeth are all the same color and size and aligned nicely in a row?  Or would you rather have your teeth look like a row of corn on a kernel where all the kernels are a different color or shape.  Some may look worn down or gnarled, others may be missing?

In the mouth that may look like some of these mouths

A couple of things stand out when we look at these photos.  The teeth in the back or front do not all match in color and shape.  Some teeth are missing, others are badly worn.  All of these individuals have some wear or breakdown problems with their teeth and mouths, some more evident by the photos than others.  All of these individuals, except for one, approached their health and mouth care much like the road department approached repairing and patching the road on the left.  They chose to do their dental care without a masterplan or thought of where they wanted their mouths to end up. They also based their decisions on what their third party payer or insurance company would pay year after year, patching up tooth after tooth, rather than coming up with a systemic master plan for their health and executing that master plan in segments to get to a final result.  Segmenting treatment can help control the cost and space out treatment over time.  Depending on your needs, if you go in to see your dentist and choose just to patch things up or fix one tooth at a time (as is what insurance typically will pay for in a calendar year) you are making a decision about how much you value your health.  If your insurance company is paying for your care and your mouth is in an advanced state of breakdown, you will lose or continue to lose teeth.  Insurance dependent care is NOT Health Care- It is Disease care.  You never control or move beyond control of the disease.  Some people legitimately cannot afford to have their mouths reconstructed.  The best course for not getting into a disease care cycle is not getting the disease in the first place.  Our office focuses on preventive care, to help our patients minimize the amount of dental care they will need over their lifetimes.

Consider this, regarding dental insurance, today the average dental plan covers between 1000 and 1500 dollars a year in care.  In the 1970’s when these plans were created, the average plan covered between 1000- 1500 dollars a year.  Back in the 70’s that kind of money could go a long way toward restoring someone’s mouth in a segmental fashion.  If this were adjusted to inflation a $1000 benefit back in 1974 would amount to about $5000 in the year 2017.  A $1000 benefit in 1974 is equal to a $98 coupon today reflecting inflation.

Restoring a mouth to complete health has become a road less traveled for most.  Of the photos shown above only one of these patients decided to invest the money in themselves and their health to the degree that was needed for their situation.  The results are shown below.  I saw this patient and asked them if they had any regrets about following through with their dental care and they responded by saying –“I wish I had done it years sooner!”

Please give us a call and we together can create a customized master plan for your health, based on your wants, needs, and desires. Regarding health, the road you choose to take is up to you! Depending on the path you travel, your destinations may be entirely different!
Are you questioning your game plan for the future? What did you think about this article? Please feel free to share your thoughts with me. I’d love to hear from you. You can like or share this article on Facebook. As always you can leave me an email: jj_bechtel@yahoo.com. I always personally answer my emails.